The Pharisee Mentality

Lately, I saw something on Facebook that reminded me of a sad event that happened years ago, before I received the Lord Jesus Christ. We were sitting down to dinner – my daughter Hannah who was then a year old, my two younger siblings, a yaya (maid), and me – in a fast food restaurant in Baguio City during the Panagbenga Flower Festival when I noticed that the family at the adjacent table was one which was close to ours back in our hometown. That family was some kind of a distant relative back in the province and the daughter who was with them and who was then graduating from college used to be very friendly and respectful of me, even admired me.

I glanced at their table (which was only about less than three feet from ours) expecting to have a happy reunion with them but I was so surprised that they acted like they didn’t know me! They focused their eyes on the food on the table and ate without looking our way. It was impossible that they didn’t see or recognize me, but it seemed to me that they intentionally averted their eyes and gave me the coldest shoulder. They were hushed throughout their dinner, as if my presence in the restaurant had ruined their appetite, and when they were done, they left quickly and quietly trying to avoid looking at my direction.

Instantly, I felt sad and wounded and thought of the only possible reason that could have triggered them to treat me that way: the rumour about me in those days that I believed had spread in our hometown. To understand  this rumour, click here.

What were they feeling and thinking? I will try to analyze. They believed that they were very upright people and they wouldn’t want to receive a person, even a family friend or distant relative, who was involved in a disgraceful rumour, let alone associate with her. To do so would be stooping down to my level: a woman with questionable morals. They had believed the rumours without a doubt and what would be the reason they would want to be talking to me? For them, that would be hypocrisy!

Now, I’m not writing this because I’m still hurt. I haven’t seen them again since that night (because I couldn’t travel to the province due to my illness), but all the hurts of the past were wiped away by the Lord. If I could see them now, I would hug them with sincere love.

But this event reminded me of the Pharisees in the Lord Jesus’ time and which we can learn from. Read this:

10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mat. 9:10-11)

The Lord Jesus, pure and holy, desired to eat with tax collectors and sinners, but the Pharisees questioned it. Why? Because they thought they were too righteous and upright to associate themselves with sinners! Just like the Pharisees, there are self-righteous people in the world who are clean in their own eyes and reject perceived sinners. I am talking about those who have a religion but are not born in the Spirit and do not have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus: the people with the Pharisee mentality. But the Lord knew their hypocrisy and upbraided them. In Matthew 23, we read how the Lord gave a rundown of what the Pharisees did, beginning each rebuke with “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”

But to us who have truly received the Lord Jesus Christ, were baptized in water in His name, received the Holy Spirit, and live and walk in Him, was the great commission of the Lord given: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Mat. 28:19). Shall we then shun the sinners – adulterers, murderers, robbers, drunkards – for then, how will they receive God’s salvation? The Lord Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (Mat. 9:12)

Apostle Paul has a clear warning:

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. (1 Cor. 5:9-11)

We are commanded not to eat or fellowship with a brother in Church who is immoral because that will defile us and make us partakers of his evil deeds. But we need to go out to the world and be with people in all walks of life, not to fellowship with them or walk their way or do the things they do, but to share to them the Gospel. Saint Jude gives us a sound counsel and this we must do:

22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. (Jude 1:22-23, emphasis added)

(image source)

I’m linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,

Comments

  1. I’m so sorry you were dissed like that. The Christ, the great physician, didn’t come to treat the well. He came to treat the sick. He went amongst the spiritually sick and ministered to them. You have been made well spiritually. The Christ only sees you as an adopted daughter that He loves very much and has a place prepared for you. Sometimes people who believe they are right with Christ will behave like your former friends. They take on a self-righteous attitude, coming to the worst of conclusions of others and forgetting that this is completely contrary to Christ’s teachings. Then there are those who misinterpret Christ’s involvement with the spiritually sick; they think it means He condoned their sin. But he didn’t. He was there to gracefully, lovingly bring them away from their sinful lives and into His arms. He wanted them to change their lives. He wanted them to act on John the Baptist’s cry to “Repent” not just make a mental change about believing in the coming Messiah, but to change their conduct to reflect that belief. That’s what Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, wants; he wants our hearts, minds and conduct to change. I invite you to read my thoughts about Christ and forgiveness at the my blog: historyforthechristianfaith.wordpress.com Look for the 13 part series on Forgiveness. Farewell and may The Christ continue to bless you.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you, Rick, for these beautiful words of truth. These would be a great encouragement for me and the readers. Indeed, the Lord Jesus transforms us through His Spirit that we’ve received. He makes all things new! I’ll be visiting your blog.

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